Maroochy River Rowing Club Head Coach Donna Muller, with President Russell Muller with are closing down the club until a dispute with the Indigenous community is sorted.
Maroochy River Rowing Club Head Coach Donna Muller, with President Russell Muller with are closing down the club until a dispute with the Indigenous community is sorted. Jason Dougherty

Aboriginal elder calls for calm in rowing club dispute

A RESPECTED Aboriginal leader has weighed into the spat between Maroochy River Rowing Club and an indigenous community.

Professor Eve Fesl, a former Olympian, Order of Australia Medallist and proud Gubbi Gubbi woman, has called for common sense to prevail and for both parties to work out an amicable solution to the dispute over a proposed clubhouse at Bli Bli's Muller Park.

The Daily reported on Monday that the situation had disintegrated into a physical altercation between Maroochy River Rowing Club president Russell Muller and members of the Kabi Kabi tribe, of which Tony Dalton claimed to be a cultural heritage coordinator.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: STOUSH OVER INDIGENOUS LAND RIGHTS AT ROWING SITE 

The rowing club wants to build a clubhouse and storage shed on what Mr Dalton claims is the site of a midden of great importance.

He said there needed to be a mitigation process to ensure the site was preserved as best as possible.

Prof Fesl questioned Mr Dalton's motives and his connection to the Kabi Kabi tribe, and called for the project to be encouraged and supported while preserving and celebrating the historical site.

"Things can be worked out, we should be encouraging these things (sports projects for youths)," she said.

Mr Muller said the club had received enormous community support and he was disappointed that the issue had reached such a level.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said the council would be working with both groups to reach a suitable outcome at the "culturally significant" location.



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